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Restored quarry locations can become havens for birds, BGS©NERC

The extraction of minerals is a temporary land use. Once quarrying has finished the land can be ‘recycled’ or reused through restoration. In many cases, restoration involves returning the land to its original use. However, this is not always feasible or desirable.Through creative restoration planning, mineral extraction offers the opportunity to improve the environment in and around quarry sites or to create new land uses.

The type of restoration will depend on the desired land use or after use and the type of mineral that has been quarried. Examples include:

  • Landfill
  • Agriculture
  • Habitat creation
  • Social amenities
  • Combined wildlife and social amenities
  • Housing
  • Flood storage
  • Business or commercial properties

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a leading advisor on minerals restoration potential for habitat creation. The RSPB book Habitat creation handbook for the minerals industry details the entire process of planning habitat creation, presenting the latest ideas and methodology.

The RSPB website After Minerals provides information on numerous mineral sites where the restoration benefits wildlife as well as creating places for people to enjoy. The site also provides habitat advice. It has a mapping tool that demonstrates the potential for restoration at many other mineral sites.

The Mineral Products Association recognises and celebrates restoration achievement by holding annual Restoration Awards. These awards ‘reflect the caring and responsible nature’ of the industry. There are different categories each year including Nature Conservation, Contribution to Biodiversity, Agriculture, Recreation/Leisure and Urban/Other.

Virtual Quarry Interactive is an interactive site where users can have a go at restoration.